The Rogue class is going to be the target of a vast array of smaller and larger modifications in the LK beta. We saw a set of these changes already, and last night Gamnin came by the forums to post another set. The interesting changes (and there are a lot of them):
- Cloak of Shadows cooldown down to 1.5 minutes, from 2 (1 in live). Elusiveness will now reduce the cooldown of CloS by 15/30 sec as well as its previous effect.
- Tricks of the Trade confirmed; they note that "we'll need one type of solution or other to prevent the need for 5 rogue Trick rotations."
- Vigor moved to tier 3. It's long been a sub-par talent, so this is sensible.
- Relentless Strikes moved to Sublety tier 1, and raised to five ranks (from one) for the same effect (4/8/12/16/20%). Fair, but a little difficult to stomach too. This does somewhat achieve their stated goal of making it more accessible, but quintupling the cost and putting it in my least favorite tree is not what I had in mind.
- New tier 7 talent that I assume is taking Vigor's place: Overkill: Abilities used while stealthed and for 6 seconds after breaking stealth cost 10 less energy. I'll need to play with this, but it looks pretty great.
- Master Poisoner has been moved and redesigned. It's now in tier 9 and has three ranks, and instead of increasing chance for poisons to hit, it now increases everyone's crit chance against targets you've poisoned by 1/2/3% and lessens the duration of poisons on you by 17/34/50% [fixed, thanks].
- Hunger for Blood's effect increased to 30 sec, from 10.
- Precision now increases chance to hit for Poisons too (by 1/2/3/4/5%). Even more of a required talent now.
- Throwing Specialization now has a chance to interrupt the target whenever Fan of Knives is used. It's a terrible talent, it's always been a terrible talent, and I wish they would just let it stay dead in peace.
- Unfair Advantage either rewritten or buffed. Gamnin wrote for this talent "Whenever you dodge an attack you strike back for 50/100% of your main hand weapon's damage," but neglected to say whether this is instead of or in addition to the previous effect. Either way, it's pretty cool.
- Stay of Execution eliminated, replaced with Blood Poisoning: All physical damage caused to enemies you have poisoned is increased by 1/2%. Now we have two trees that gain a significant advantage from having poisoned the target; I hope we don't see too many poison-immune mobs. Anyway, Stay of Execution looked really weak to me for such a deep talent, so this is good.
- Prey on the Weak now increases crit damage from all attacks (previously was white damage only). I'm often skeptical of talents that increase your crit damage, since they frequently don't work out to be as strong as they look at first, but this one is tuned pretty high, especially with this change.
- Premeditation cooldown down to 20 sec, from 2 min; however, Preparation no longer resets Premeditation's cooldown.
- Shadowstep no longer usable while rooted.
- Master of Deception reduced to three ranks, and Opportunity to two for the same effect. This has to do with Relentless Strikes moving in to this tier; 15 points in one tier would be a bit much.
- Wrongfully Accused removed, replaced with Filthy Tricks: Reduces the cooldown of your Tricks of the Trade and Distract abilities by 5/10 sec. I can't really see the value in this, honestly; ToT costs energy and is a relatively small and short damage increase, and I don't think it'll need to be used for aggro reasons more often than once every 30 sec. Weak for such a deep talent.
- Slaughter from the Shadows now decreases the energy cost of Hemo by 1/2/3/4/5. I'm still not at all convinced Sub will be an even semi-viable PvE DPS tree, but we'll see.
- Shadow Dance redesigned, now allows the use of Sap, Garrote, Ambush, Cheap Shot, Premeditation, Pickpocket and Disarm Trap regardless of being stealthed. Those abilities all gain a cooldown of 2 sec. Lasts 10 sec. Holy crap. I'm assuming it's still on a 2 minute cooldown, but this talent suddenly became very interesting. CP generation, stunlocking, random mid-fight Ambushes - so many possibilities.
There's a lot to digest here (and there were a few other changes on the order of reducing ranks and moving talents that I didn't mention; see the post for full details). The number one change that I'm sure I don't like, on the face of it, is Relentless Strikes. It reminds me of Tactical Mastery being moved to Prot in order to break MS/Flurry builds in BC. It's forcing many Rogues, including me, to dump points in a tree I otherwise have no desire to be in. When Blizz said that Relentless was feeling too required, I did not think they'd fix that by basically removing five of my talent points. The thing is, there's already stuff I want, as a Combat rogue, in the top end of Assassination, like Malice, Ruthlessness, and Lethality. There is nothing I'm even vaguely interested in in the top of Subtlety.
Come to think of it, that might be the point: limiting the number of talent points I have to play with. Previously, I was seriously considering going 21/50 for Cold Blood (since I'm not sure how Murder Spree is going to work out). Now that's effectively impossible; every PvE rogue is going to have at least five points in Subtlety, so the best I could do is 16/60/5. In addition to Tactical Mastery, this also remind me of the old days when we had Improved Sap, so anyone running many 5-mans was encouraged to take seven points in Sub. Overall this is a highly irritating move, and I hope it's revised. My preferred solution would be to put it in Assassination tier 2, for two points, so I could take it alongside Ruthlessness. It would still be accessible, since pretty much every rogue can get use out of 5/5 Malice in tier 1.